Charlotte Hornets fans have not had much to cheer about in the last two decades. They had a dreadful 7-59 season in 2011-2012 as the Bobcats and mismanaged multiple top-five draft picks with selections like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 2nd overall and Cody Zeller 4th overall in back-to-back seasons.
Additionally, the franchise fired its head coach, Steve Clifford, in 2018, just to rehire the same man four seasons later. Charlotte has been the most dysfunctional team in the NBA and currently holds the longest active playoff drought in the NBA at seven seasons. The next closest teams, the Spurs and the Pistons, each have missed the playoffs in four straight seasons, which is poor, but not quite Hornets-caliber. In this upcoming 2023-2024 season, Mark Williams, the Hornets’ 21-year-old center, is going to be a crucial piece of turning this franchise around.
There are many question marks for the Hornets entering this season, ranging from whether they made the right decision in drafting Brandon Miller over Scoot Henderson, to whether Miles Bridges can still be effective after a full year out of the NBA, to whether LaMelo Ball can stay healthy and improve his game further. One thing that should not be a question mark is who should be the Hornets starting center… The answer is Williams and it is not close.
Williams was a highly sought-after big man prospect when he was drafted 15th overall in the 2022 NBA draft. This was mainly due to his tremendous interior defense and sheer length and size standing at 7’0” with a 7’6.5” wingspan. Currently, he has the 6th longest wingspan in the entire NBA, trailing only Boban Marjanovic, Mo Bamba, Rudy Gobert, Udoka Azubuike, and Bol Bol. On top of this, Williams was incredibly good last year for Charlotte, they simply did not play him enough.